Author(s): Ballas LK, Elkin EB, Schrag D, Minsky BD, Bach PB
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Abstract PURPOSE: About half of all cancer patients in the United States receive radiation therapy as a part of their cancer treatment. Little is known, however, about the facilities that currently deliver external beam radiation. Our goal was to construct a comprehensive database of all radiation therapy facilities in the United States that can be used for future health services research in radiation oncology. METHODS AND MATERIALS: From each state's health department we obtained a list of all facilities that have a linear accelerator or provide radiation therapy. We merged these state lists with information from the American Hospital Association (AHA), as well as 2 organizations that audit the accuracy of radiation machines: the Radiologic Physics Center (RPC) and the Radiation Dosimetry Services (RDS). The comprehensive database included all unique facilities listed in 1 or more of the 4 sources. RESULTS: We identified 2,246 radiation therapy facilities operating in the United States as of 2004-2005. Of these, 448 (20\%) facilities were identified through state health department records alone and were not listed in any other data source. CONCLUSIONS: Determining the location of the 2,246 radiation facilities in the United States is a first step in providing important information to radiation oncologists and policymakers concerned with access to radiation therapy services, the distribution of health care resources, and the quality of cancer care.
This article was published in Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy